Number 9 - Infielder Jack Brannigan
Jack Brannigan was drafted out of Notre Dame in the 3rd round of the 2022 draft. Although he was originally taken as a two-way player, the Pirates have used him only as a position player. However, he’s been one of, if not the best performing minor leaguer in the Pirate system.
In 330 plate appearances across Bradenton and Greensboro, Brannigan is batting .273/.382/.531 with a .412 wOBA, and 144 wRC+. Brannigan has hit for a lot of power, demolishing 17 home runs and posting a .258 isolated slugging percentage. He’s also been a threat on the basepaths, going 23-26 in stolen base attempts. Brannigan has walked at a 13% rate but has also gone down on strikes 29.7% of the time.
Brannigan has been on fire since getting to Greensboro. His wRC+ is above 150, clocking in at 158. He’s already hit 11 home runs, topping his Bradenton HR total in 72 fewer plate appearances. The downside is his walk rate (8.5%), and strikeout rate (34.1%) have both moved in the wrong direction. Still, nearly every other metric has gotten better for Brannigan.
Branigan has plus power potential, but the hit tool is in question. Brannigan was throwing upper-90s heaters in college, so he has a strong arm, good enough for the right side of the infield. Speaking of his defense, Brannigan is primarily a third baseman. However, he’s shown such good fielding prowess and athleticism the Pirates have given him multiple reps up the middle.
Brannigan has done very well in his first full minor league season. He’s only 22 and is performing extremely well at Greensboro. Given that Greensboro’s season ends before Altoona’s, you can’t fully rule out Brannigan making his Double-A debut at the tail-end of the year. If Brannigan can cut the strikeouts down slightly, he could become a soon-to-be major league ready infield prospect.